Are table scraps good for your dog?

With summer BBQ season in full swing, many dog owners are taking to their patios or enjoying large family gatherings, pooches included. But with these gatherings comes the potential for your dog to be slipped and extra “treat” here and there. Is this safe?

If you do give your dog table scraps or people food, there are three things you should consider:

Moderation. Your dog is already receiving their daily recommended caloric intake from their kibble or regular food. Adding more food means adding more calories, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain if the dog is fed additional foods and treats more often.

Toxic foods. There are a number of foods that are downright toxic to dogs, including chocolate, raisins, grapes, currants, onions, leeks, onion powder, macadamia nuts, walnuts (walnuts are commonly contaminated with a mold that is very dangerous to dogs), avocados and fruits with pits such as cherries, peaches and plums (these pits can cause obstructions while also containing trace amounts of cyanide, which can build up in your dog’s system).

It can be very difficult to determine what exactly is in prepared foods with regards to these toxic foods as well as spices, flavourings or other ingredients if you did not make the food yourself.

While some foods are dangerously toxic, other foods not on the toxic food list can also lead to health issues. For example, fatty or oily foods can lead to pancreatitis down the road, while new foods in general can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea or vomiting.

Healthy foods. There are all kinds of great foods that you can incorporate into your dog’s diet, and many dog owners actually cook for their dogs. Some examples include cooked eggs, peanut butter, cooked chicken, bananas, berries, watermelon, green beans and carrots. Giving your dogs these foods as opposed to fatty foods or junk food can be a great way to add variety to your dog’s diet without facing health consequences later on.